June 30, 2011

Project One of Two: Patio!

Okay, the image above is a 'before'. We've got TWO big outdoor projects we're trying to complete before July 4. Mission One (accepted): create a DIY low cost but elegant and functional patio. Our patio materials? Compacted stone dust lined with the cobblestone pavers. We chose stone dust because it can be used as a base for the blue stone patio we can't afford yet. First, Mr. Man dug out about 12 inches of dirt following the edges of my garden beds, pitching the slope away from the house.
He analyzed the elevation of the yard (our entire yard slopes significantly) using a laser level and determined we needed two steps down to the grass (based on 5 inch stone risers). He marked key elevations using bamboo stakes and put down weed blocker fabric. Then we (were you wondering where I came in?) unloaded a 1/2 pallet of antique cobblestones into the backyard.
Our cobblestones used to be in a road in Holyoke and were dug up many moons ago when asphalt was put down. Mr. Man has kept these lumbering large pieces of granite for over a decade. They are beautiful and HEAVY. I must be in better shape than I thought, because moving all these out of a basement wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. USE YOUR LEGS, NOT YOUR BACK!
Then we hauled in and dumped (via Mr. Man's SERIOUS truck) 3 cubic yards of stone dust. We temporarily removed part of our fence to get the stone dust actually IN the backyard.
Stone dust is great for now, because we can put blue stone on top of it eventually.  Mr. Man  leveled the surface with a long 2x4 and compacted it to make a nice steady surface for a table and chairs. Very Italian (we hope.) We still have a lot of work to do, but I didn't want to make you wait any longer for a general idea of what's going on. Here's where we are now! Ask any questions you have in the comments!!!!


  1. margaret rooksJune 30, 2011

    this is great! i love how you are phasing in the patio in, while having it be usable in the meantime. brilliant!

  2. I don't have any questions. I don't know of such things as garden stones, dirt, and such! LOL I 'do' know that it looks great! :-]

  3. Big changes! Looking good!

  4. AnonymousJune 30, 2011

    so is it sett or is it cobblestone?
    in any case, looks awesome. can't wait to see the final product.

  5. Looking good! We have to do something similar under our grape arbor/seating area...so soaking up the tips via your experience. I'm sure you would have chosen concrete if someone would just patent 'da smootha'! hahaha! ;)

    I can't wait to see the big reveal!


  6. love that you have a part of your city in your own back yard! awesome project with a great future.

  7. Your gardens around the edge are beautiful. Your after with the new outdoor living space is going to be beautiful too. Maybe you could come help me with mine if I have mojitos and someone onsite giving back massages in between all the lifting and raking?

  8. Oh, my back hurts for you, just reading this! I can't wait to see it all set up.

  9. Wow!! That looks great! You now need a massage and probably an ice bath!

  10. It looks wonderful..and you may be more sore the next day...my Hubby is a Chiropractor...just sayin.

  11. AnonymousJuly 02, 2011

    NO WAY!!!! I love the antique stones. too cool :)

  12. Impressive...you make me want to get back out and do something to the garden and patio I have neglected!

  13. It's beautiful! You have no idea how blessed you are to have Mr. as a husband.

    I've been out there working for two months, and now that it's so hot, I work at night.

    I want a patio soooooooooo badly, but we have a huge Live Oak Tree and we'll have to hire an expert because of the roots. I have this feeling that I'll be looking down from heaven as this is being done.... but it's ok. I LOVE that tree!

    God bless you,

  14. Oooh, very cool project! I am all too familiar with hauling big heavy rocks for landscaping. :)

    And I love that the cobblestones were actually from a real road! Looking forward to seeing the rest of it.

  15. I'd love to see a close up of the gravel and dividing rocks, and maybe a video of just how stable it is. This is a cool idea and one I hadn't seen before.


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